NY Daily News - March 07, 2019by MIKEY LIGHT , GRAHAM RAYMAN and LARRY MCSHANE
A Bronx grandmom was wrapped in a blanket and hurled from a window to safety early Wednesday during a raging house fire that injured 15 people, officials said.
Icylin Stephenson sailed through the thick black smoke before bouncing off a mattress hurriedly placed on the roof of a nearby parked car, leaving a dent in the vehicle.
The spreading flames and thick smoke forced small children and other desperate family members to leap for their lives from the 6 a.m. blaze that left Stephenson and a second in critical condition.
Neighbor Coreen Daniel, 64, described the surreal scene as she stepped outside of her home next door. Flames were shooting out the front door, while black smoke poured from the upstairs windows. And then Stephenson appeared out of nowhere.
“I saw her coming out the widow when I came out,” said Daniel. “That was Grandma. … She fell right here. It was terrible. I don’t know if she’s going to make it. She was so burned in the face.”
Darion Ennis, 35, described the chaos inside his family’s darkened three-story house on Holland Ave. near E. 213th St. in Olinville.
As the fire spread, he watched in disbelief as his niece jumped out a second-floor window and his cousin lay motionless on the ground after the cousin jumped.
“That’s the only chance we’ve got,” said Ennis of the drastic effort to spare his grandmother. “Otherwise we’d be burying a body right now. In a million years, I never thought this would happen to me.”
According to Ennis, there were three children — ages 11, 8 and 6 — on the first floor with him.
Good Samaritan Rafael Corchado, 58, saw the smoke and began throwing rocks at the window to wake up the people inside, including Stephenson’s daughter and granddaughter. “I tell them ‘Jump out the window!’ ” recounted Corchado, who was walking past when the fire broke out.
One small survivor stood shaking and barefoot in the 19-degree chill after escaping with her life. Corchado loaded her and five other kids into his van and drove them all to the hospital.
“We are all human, looking out for each other,” he explained.
In addition to the critically injured pair, seven other residents suffered serious injuries before the fire was extinguished at 7:20 a.m. Six more suffered minor injuries, according to authorities.
Neighbor Helena Johnson, 37, who lives across the street, was taking her daughter to school when they saw children jumping from the burning brick house.
People hustled to clear the area for those leaping to safety.
“Somebody from the neighborhood got a mattress, put the mattress on the car,” said Johnson. “People were putting makeshift padding around the car. (My daughter) was like, ‘Ma, do you think those kids are going to be OK?’ ”
The cause of the fire was undetermined, with FDNY investigators on the scene.
Dale Ennis, brother of Darion, said the people on the upper floors had no choice but to risk their lives in getting out.
“The smoke was black and thick,” he recounted. “They couldn’t see to come down the stairs. What the hell am I going to do?”